SETAREH X is pleased to present I See You, the first international solo show by London-based artist Ania Hobson. Dream and reality slip into each other in Ania Hobson's paintings. The subjects–mainly women, represented with big coats and chunky boots–present stories of human interaction and detachment. Being part of social gatherings–at bars, alleys or restaurants–the depicted subjects draw the attention to an invisible context outside of the portrayed scene. Through the haze of smoke or the dimming lights, their gaze reaches out towards something happening beyond the painting.
Ania Hobson emphasizes the contours of the figures, using a palette of tones that generates an emotionally distant ambiance, like a memory after a night out. Popular culture collides with art-historical references: Fauvism, comic, cartoonish distortions of hands and noses, and a prominent use of impasto that, recalling Impressionist portraits, feeds the paintings with a sense of tactility.
An investigation of social phenomena through the understanding of the figure, focusing on individuals, who either alone or in groups are always socialising. A psychological approach on how body language transmits sensations which the observer can relate to. The colour, distanced from reality, generates an emotional detachment that is quickly regained by means of situational understanding. The densely modelled figures mimic movement, gesture, expressions and signs so accurately that its nature is undeniable. A clear meaning eludes the scenes. This leads the viewer towards observation, a study of the non-verbal symbolism that one can identify with. Hobson's paintings enable the recognition of something close but distant, familiar but unknown, plausible but delusive.
Drawn by the smell of the cigarettes, the heat of a bar, the dark corners of the city, the fresh breeze of the alley, or the cold sensation when a drink spills over clothes, the artist evokes the mundane: ordinary routines of the current cultural spectrum, in which groups of people are attracted towards social gatherings. What is now ordinary for the XXI century, was something inconceivable for previous generations. Hobson's paintings diverge from earlier female portraits. She places modern women standing out, depicted with androgynous garments which don't define the owners' sex. The female figure isn't the main topic, in fact, it doesn't matter at all, these female subjects break from the idiosyncratic conception of 'woman' from the past: they aren't there to be looked at. These women are taking part in what is happening. They interact, and sometimes they even look bored, waiting for something to happen, seeking for occurrences further from their own environment. Like a chronicler of modern times, Ania Hobson reflects on the current progress of the feminine position, its awareness, recognition and perception. The artist portrays in her very own sensible way society with its spaces, fashion, culture, entertainment, and aesthetics as it is now and won't be ever again.
Ania Hobson, born 1990 in Suffolk, UK, obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Ipswich University Suffolk in 2011. Between 2013 and 2014 she attended courses at The Royal Drawing School of London and at the Florence Academy of Art. In 2018 she was awarded the Young Artist Award of the BP Portrait Awards, granted by the National Portrait Gallery, London. Her work has been exhibited in several solo shows and group shows in Great Britain as well as in cities like New York or Venice.
Press release courtesy SETAREH.